Two Republican state Supreme Court justices from Huntington, David Reilly and Paul Baisley Jr., have become the first judges to officially express interest in running for the patronage rich-post of Surrogate’s Court judge in November.
Both have filed letters with the office of Administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrichs expressing interest in the position. Surrogate Judge John Czygier, who has been in office since 2001, this year turns 70, the mandatory retirement age.
Reilly’s and Baisley’s interest surfaced when they appeared at a Suffolk GOP fundraiser in Port Jefferson earlier this month, even though both are in the middle of their 14-year terms.
Reilly, 56, was last elected in 2013 and Baisley, 63, in 2011. Normally, judges are not permitted to attend political fundraisers except in years when they run for re-election or seek another judicial position. Since both are already state Supreme Court justices, the only higher job they can run for is Surrogate’s Court.
Candidates for Surrogate’s Court judge run countywide, and the winner gets a 10-year term.
The Surrogate’s Court controls many legal and management appointments in cases dealing with estates and wills, and guardianships and adoptions.